Nazanin Afshin-Jam

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Nazanin Afshin-Jam
نازنین افشین جم
Afshin-Jam-MacKay at the arrival of Prince Charles in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Born (1979-04-11) April 11, 1979 (age 44)
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia (B.A.)
TitleMiss World Canada 2003
(m. 2012)
AwardsMiss World Canada 2003 (winner)
Miss World 2003
(1st runner-up)

Nazanin Afshin-Jam (Persian: نازنین افشین جم, Nāzanin Afŝin Jam, born April 11, 1979) is an Iranian-Canadian human rights activist, author, public speaker and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss World Canada 2003. She is also president and co-founder of Stop Child Executions, as well as the founder of The Nazanin Foundation.[1] She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1981 and is married to Peter MacKay, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.


Nazanin Afshin-Jam was born on April 11, 1979, in Tehran, Iran. Her father was the head of the Sheraton Hotel in Tehran (now the Tehran Homa Hotel), frequented by westerners. During the Iranian revolution, her father was jailed by the Revolutionary Guard. After he was freed from prison, he fled Iran with his family to Spain and, after a year, they immigrated to Canada, settling in Vancouver.[2][3]

Education and Red Cross work[edit]

Afshin-Jam graduated with international relations and political science degrees from the University of British Columbia. In 2011, she earned her Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University and she has an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Western Ontario.[4]

Following her graduation, Afshin-Jam served as a Global Youth Educator with the Red Cross,[4] becoming involved in such matters as land mines, children, and war, the poverty-disease cycle, and natural disasters.[5]

Miss World 2003[edit]

Afshin-Jam was crowned Miss World Canada 2003 and represented Canada at Miss World 2003 in Sanya, China on December 6, 2003 where she placed 1st runner-up.[6]

Activism and awards[edit]

Afshin-Jam was opposed to the death penalty being applied to an 18-year-old Iranian woman, Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, who was sentenced to hang for stabbing one of three men who tried to rape her and her niece in Karaj in March 2005.[7] Afshin-Jam started a campaign, including a petition, which attracted more than 350,000 signatures worldwide.[8] She has also dedicated her song, Someday, one of the 12 songs on her similarly titled album, Someday, to Nazanin Fatehi.[9] Eventually, with pressure from the international community, Fatehi was granted a new trial by the head of the judiciary in June, 2006. In January of the following year, Fatehi was exonerated of murder charges and was released after Afshin-Jam raised $43,000 online for bail, while her lawyers worked on her case.[10] For her efforts in helping save Fatehi, Afshin-Jam was awarded the Hero for Human Rights Award from Youth For Human Rights Internationaland Artists for Human Rights.[11] [12] The Tale of Two Nazanins, by Afshin-Jam and Susan McClelland, chronicling the divergent lives of the two Iranian Nazanins whose lives intersected during Fatehi's trial, was published by HarperCollins.[13]

Afshin-Jam initiated the Stop Child Executions Campaign and petitioned to help children on death row; the campaign was registered as a non-profit organization with 501-C 3 status in 2008.[citation needed] She is co-founder and President of the organization, whose aim is to put a permanent end to executions of minors in Iran and abroad.[14]

On September 23, 2008, Afshin-Jam organized the Ahmadinejad's Wall of Shame rally at Dag Hammarskjöld park, across from the United Nations headquarters in New York, as Ahmadinejad was addressing the General Assembly.[15] Afshin-Jam received the Global Citizenship Award from the University of British Columbia's Alumni Association in November and,[16] In April of the next year, the Human Rights Hero Award from UN Watch in Geneva, Switzerland.[17] Afshin-Jam was also given the Emerging Leader Peacemaker Award by the YMCA's Power of Peace Awards.[18]

That same year, Afshin-Jam signed an open letter of apology, posted to, along with 266 other Iranian academics, writers, artists, and journalists, about the persecution of Baháʼís.[19] She also chaired the first annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.[20]

Afshin-Jam advocated in 2012 for the closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran.[21] Afshin-Jam received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[22] In 2016, she was conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the University of Western Ontario.[23]

Film work[edit]

Afshin-Jam participated, together with eight other women's rights activists, in the documentary film Honor Diaries which explores the issues of gender-based violence and inequality in Muslim-majority societies. Her personal story was featured alongside those of the other activists, all of whom are working to combat gender prejudice that is embedded in honor-based societies.[24]

She also took on the role of 'Shaggy Chick' in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, where Matthew Lillard's face was attached to her body using CGI during a gag involving magic potions.[25]


Afshin-Jam's debut album, Someday was released in April 2007 by Bodog Music. It spans many different music genres, including world music influenced by Alabina.[26]

Several of Afshin-Jam's songs have made the Top 30 and Top 40 charts. Her debut single, "I Dance 4 U" was charted at #20 in the Music Week - Commercial Pop Top 30 Club Chart (a music video for the song has been released).[citation needed] Afshim-Jam's single "Someday" has been climbing the FMQB Top 40 chart in the U.S. and is currently at #7.[27] Her new single "I Do" reached #39 on the Billboard Chart in adult contemporary music. A Christmas single "On Christmas Day" has also made the charts, ranking #59 on the ACQB chart.[citation needed] The proceeds from the song are contributed to the Stop Child Executions Campaign.[28]

Personal life[edit]

A licensed pilot, Afshin-Jam flies both powered aircraft and gliders and achieved the highest rank in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets—Warrant Officer First Class.[29] She was raised a Catholic and remains a practising one.[30][31]

In 2011, she earned her Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University.[32] On January 4, 2012, Afshin-Jam married Peter MacKay, then the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada,[33] at a private ceremony in Mexico.[34] The couple have two sons, one named Kian, born in 2013 and another named Caledon, born in 2018[35] and one daughter named Valentia, born in 2015.[36][37]


  • Afshin-Jam, Nazanin; McClelland, Susan (2012). The Tale of Two Nazanins. Scarborough Ontario: HarperCollins Canada. ISBN 9781554689729.


  1. ^ "Afshin Jam on The Nazanin Foundation, family and life". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  2. ^ Azizi, Arash (12 January 2012). "Nazanin Afshin-Jam, from miss world to minister's wife (Persian)". Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: A model of achievement". National Post. National Post.
  4. ^ a b "Peter Mackay marries Nazanin Afshin-Jam, former Miss World Canada". National Post. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  5. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: Peter MacKay's New Wife A Woman Of Many Talents". The Huffington Post Canada. 5 January 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "Irish Miss World begins reign". ABC Online. Agence France-Presse. December 7, 2003. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  7. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (January 6, 2012). "Nazanin Afshin-Jam: A model of achievement". National Post. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  8. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam tells story of girl trapped by Iran's twisted culture". National Post. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "MacKay fuels questions on his future — and love life". Toronto Star. 11 November 2010. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Smith, Charlie (February 2, 2007). "Pageant power redux: Nazanin Afshin-Jam scores a human-rights triumph". The Georgia Straight. Archived from the original on May 7, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  11. ^ Love, Emma (August 11, 2007). "Rising star:Nazanin Afshin-Jam, campaigner". The Observer. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  12. ^ Lopez, Kathryn Jean (September 7, 2006). "United Behind Human Rights". The Cedartown Standard. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 4A.
  13. ^ Smith, Charlie (July 4, 2012). "The Tale of Two Nazanins coauthor Nazanin Afshin-Jam reveals that the other Nazanin is alive". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  14. ^ "Peter MacKay Weds Former Beauty Queen". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  15. ^ "Iranian groups to stage rally in N.Y. titled 'Ahmadinejad, why do you execute children?'". Haaretz. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  16. ^ "Alumni Achievement Awards « UBC Alumni Affairs". November 29, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  17. ^ "UN Watch Congratulates Human Rights Activist Nazanin Afshin-Jam". UN Watch. 6 January 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  18. ^ Archived 2016-08-08 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "We are ashamed!". February 4, 2009. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "Program, Sunday, April 19, 2009". Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  21. ^ "Iran embassy report suggests little threat months before closure". November 30, 2014.
  22. ^ "Afshin-Jam dedicates Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal to Nasrin Sotoudeh". Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  23. ^ University, Department of Communications and Public Affairs, Western (2016-06-20). "Western News - Afshin-Jam MacKay: Use your talents, blessings". Western News. Retrieved 2019-07-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ "Chicago Film Festival". Archived from the original on March 3, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-11-07.
  26. ^ Goodman, Dean (April 27, 2007). "Beauty queen gives "voice to voiceless"". Reuters. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  27. ^ "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". FMQB. Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  28. ^ Smith, Julia Llewellyn (November 4, 2007). "Little miss perfect". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  29. ^ "Peter MacKay and Nazanin Afshin-Jam expecting a baby in new year". Toronto Sun. Canoe Sun Media. September 7, 2012. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  30. ^ "There's more to Nazanin Afshin-Jam than her beauty queen past". The Globe and Mail. 19 May 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Little Miss Perfect". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  32. ^ "Nazanin Afshin-Jam M'11 * A model global activist". Norwich Record. Norwich University. Archived from the original on March 7, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  33. ^ "The Honourable Peter Gordon Mackay". Archived from the original on May 5, 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  34. ^ "Peter MacKay weds former beauty queen". CBC News. January 4, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  35. ^ "Peter MacKay and wife Nazanin welcome third child". The News. July 30, 2018. Retrieved Oct 10, 2018.
  36. ^ "Defence Minister Peter MacKay announces birth of son Kian Alexander". CTV News. April 1, 2013. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  37. ^ "Peter MacKay and Nazanin Afshin-Jam announce birth of baby girl Valentia". The Chronicle Herald. September 30, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2016.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Lynsey Bennett
Miss World Canada
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Natalia Peralta
Miss World Americas
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Natalia Peralta
Miss World First Runner-up
Succeeded by